Neither Benny Napoleon nor Mike Duggan

So there’s one day left until the Detroit mayoral election on Tuesday, possibly one of the most important mayoral elections this city has had in decades, and I still simply cannot get excited about either one. Benny Napoleon just doesn’t do it for me, and neither does Mike Duggan. Normally in a case where I can’t work up a head of steam I just decide on who I figure is the stronger candidate, and go with that. There’s always a better candidate, and I figure I’d rather cast my vote behind the better one than not cast any vote at all and then feel the weight of the blame for allowing the weaker one to slide through.

At least that’s the way I’ve always operated up until now. Because now, truth be told, I’m just not sure I can feel good about pulling the lever for either one of these guys. After watching Napoleon’s lackluster performance in the recently televised mayoral debate, where he couldn’t help himself from going negative, I got completely turned off. Not that I was thrilled with the man before, but to hear him going back to lean on that same old tired racialized crap about how he was here in [black] Detroit while Duggan was out there in [white] Livonia just got on my nerves. It’s great to stay in the trenches and fight, but to imply that anyone who no longer lives in Detroit proper isn’t qualified to work for the betterment of the city is a simply ridiculous opinion that needs to be put out of its misery once and for all. If staying in Detroit  has been such a plus for Napoleon then he should have focused on listing all the specific ways his Detroit residency made him a better candidate – and I don’t mean how it makes him more “in touch” or anything weak like that.

As for Duggan, despite the fact that he clearly won that debate and I think is much better on his feet than Napoleon, I still can’t quite shake his earlier involvement with Gov. Snyder’s pet snake the Educational Achievement Authority. Although he finally distanced himself from the EAA and stepped down from the board, most likely because he saw how big of a target it was going to be painted on his back, I just can’t get comfortable with someone who didn’t see what a mistake this thing was from the get-go and had to be pushed to cut ties. Not to mention the fact he was one of Snyder’s 7 appointees to the board, and I automatically question anyone appointed by Snyder to anything. That fact most likely explains why Duggan still seems to be embracing the mission of the EAA – which is essentially to dismantle the public school system and put it on the road to privatization – even as he was stepping away from it. According to a May 3, 2013 article in the Detroit Free Press:


In a letter to Carol Goss, the chairwoman of the statewide district that targets the lowest-performing 5% of schools, Duggan said today that his role as a volunteer board member “is drawing the EAA into the middle of a heated mayoral campaign. As long as I remain on the board, some will be motivated to try to keep the EAA engulfed in as much controversy as possible.”

Duggan told Goss, who is president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, that he believes in the mission and goals of the EAA but doesn’t “want to be a distraction from these very important efforts.”


Do either of these guys have positive attributes that could be good for the City of Detroit? Sure they do. And whoever wins, I hope he will prove to be the bet of himself that his supporters see in him. But for now, I know which way I’m going for City Council. But this may be the first time I just had to abstain from voting for either one of the mayoral candidates. The better of two evils just isn’t working for me this time.


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